Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Annie
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some mild language and rude humor
Release Date:
December 19, 2014

 

The Maze Runner
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images
Release Date:
September 19, 2014

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language
Release Date:
December 19, 2014

 

Magic in the Moonlight
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for a brief suggestive comment, and smoking throughout
Release Date:
August 1, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Release Date:
December 19, 2014

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence
Release Date:
August 8, 2014

Austin Powers in Goldmember

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2002

Another year, another Austin Powers movie. And that means 30 very funny minutes surrounded by 60 minutes of far less funny jokes about body parts and body functions, primarily those relating to the bathroom.

Mike Myers returns as Austin Powers, his nemesis, Dr. Evil, and the odious Scottish Fat Bastard. He also plays the new title villain, a Dutchman named Goldmember because of an accident that left him with gilded private parts. Each of Myers’ new characters is less interesting than the one before. Powers takes such pleasure in being himself that he is fun to watch, but Dr. Evil is still his best character since Wayne Campbell and Linda Richman when he was on Saturday Night Live. But the more recent additions are not very memorable. Like Fat Bastard, Goldmember’s primary characteristic is disgusting personal habits. Then there are frequent jokes about prejudice against the Dutch. Huh?

The best part of the movie is the appearance by a number of guest stars. Try to see the movie soon, before all the surprises are given away. Beyoncé Knowles of Destiny’s Child gives sweetness and snap to her role as Foxy Cleopatra, a gentle tribute to the Pam Grier characters of 1970’s blaxploitation movies. There are some great riffs on situations and relationships from the earlier movies, but there are also some excruciating replays of some of their jokes (mostly apparently gross bodily functions) and even excruciating replays of some of the jokes from this movie.

Parents should know that, once again, the movie has a great deal of material that would get an R in a drama. Because some words miss being naughty by a vowel or two and the sexual acts are apparent rather than real, they pass muster with the MPAA. Parents should be very cautious about letting children and young teens see the movie without viewing it first themselves.

Families who see the movie should talk about the fact that most of the major characters feel unloved by their fathers. How does that affect them?

Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy the other two Austin Powers movies and some of the movies that inspired them, like “Our Man Flint” and “Foxy Brown.”

Antwone Fisher

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2002

Therapy films usually follow the same pattern as romance films, a sort of one-sided romance of the subjects with themselves. In other words, it’s therapist meets patient, therapist loses patient, then therapist gets patient to open up with a big revelation to begin to heal. In films from “The Three Faces of Eve” to “Ordinary People,” we see the main character first resist and then embrace the challenges of self-knowledge and the opportunity for healing and change. But “Antwone Fisher,” a true story written by its subject, the journey inside himself is just the beginning. The story is not what goes on in his conversations with the doctor, but where that takes him.

Fisher (newcomer Derek Luke) is a sailor who is sent for a psychiatric evaluation to Dr. Davenport (director Denzel Washington) for getting into fights. At first, he refuses to talk. But Davenport insists that he sit in his office until he does. Finally, Fisher starts to tell Davenport his story of devastating neglect and abuse. And as he does, he finds himself opening up in other ways, even going on his very first date.

Davenport goes outside the Navy rules to continue to provide Fisher with therapy that turns into a real friendship that changes both their lives. He encourages Fisher to try to connect with his family so that he can understand his story better. Fisher confronts his abusive foster mother, meets the mother who abandoned him, and finds the family of the father who died before he was born.

The real-life Fisher was working as a security guard at a movie studio when he signed up for a screenwriting class. This is his first screenplay. That led to a book, Finding Fish, which became a best-seller. At first, the fact that this movie does not follow the usual pattern can feel disconcerting, even amateurish. There is an obvious tension between what is important to Fisher the person and what works on screen. Ultimately it gives the movie a kind of messiness and heart that provides some extra authenticity.

Washington does very well with his first directing job, especially with Luke and model Joy Bryant as Fisher’s girlfriend, both in their first major roles. Washington the director makes Washington the actor the foundation of the film, if not the story, a wise choice. As one of the very few in Hollywood who are at the same time fully actors and movie stars, his grace, dignity, sheer magnetism and ability to convey a complete character with every gesture are enough to carry an entire movie.

Parents should know that the movie deals frankly, if not graphically, with severe child abuse, including sexual abuse. Characters use strong language, including the n-word (used by African-Americans) and a gay slur. Fisher is justifiably proud of himself for not drinking, using drugs, or having promiscuous sex.

Families who see this movie should talk about what kept Fisher strong through all of the abuse. How did he have enough of a sense of himself to resist becoming a criminal, a drug user, or an abuser? Davenport gives Fisher a book that suggests that the beatings he received from his foster mother were a legacy of the beatings that slaves received from their white masters. What do you think of that perspective and is it more or less helpful than a more generalized perspective on child abuse? What does it mean to say that Fisher is “more honest in his anger” than most people? Why is it important that Fisher influenced and inspired Davenport? Families should also talk about the theme of forgiveness, the ability “to regard without ill will despite an offence.” Why is forgiveness more important for the person doing the forgiving than for the person being forgiven? They should talk about Fisher’s saying that he was ashamed for being unwanted, and the importance of forgiving those who do not appreciate us as a way of appreciating ourselves.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy The Prince of Tides, Ordinary People, K-Pax, and another film about a psychiatrist in the service, Captain Newman, M.D. starring Gregory Peck. And they should read Fisher’s book, Finding Fish.

Andre

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:PG
Movie Release Date:1994

“Plot: A shy little girl from Maine makes friends with a seal in this fact-based story about a seal that swam from Boston to Maine every summer for 24 years. Toni (Tina Majorino) is more comfortable with animals than with kids. Her father, Harry (Keith Carridine), is not very responsible, but he has a real gift for animals, and his wife manages to cope with the chaos and be “”the only grown-up in the house.””

Analyze That

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:R
Movie Release Date:2002

Robert DeNiro loves comedy. Who knew?

After decades as America’s most respected dramatic actor, DeNiro discovered that he enjoyed making people laugh in “Analyze This,” where he tweaked his most famous roles to create mob boss Paul Vitti, who was in therapy with psychiatrist Ben Sobel (Billy Crystal). In a typical therapy session, Sobel would suggest that Vitti was not used to hearing the word “no,” and Vitti would respond that he often heard people say, “No! Don’t kill me!”

In the sequel, “Analyze That,” Vitti pretends to be crazy in order to get out of jail (it is worth the price of admission to see him stand on a prison dining table belting out a ballad from “West Side Story”), and he is released into the custody of Dr. Sobel. After some unfortunate attempts at a job that does not involve any felonies, he ends up as an expert advisor to a “Sopranos”-like television show. Meanwhile, he has to figure out how to survive a war between two rival mob families.

There are some slow patches, and Lisa Kudrow as Sobel’s wife is badly misused. The plot doesn’t go anywhere and the attempt to make the pretentious producer of the television show funny does not work at all. But it is sheer joy to see DeNiro give everything he’s got (which is plenty) to the pure pleasure of comic madness, and every time he comes on screen, the movie takes off like a rocket. There is also a special pleasure for fans of “Raging Bull” in seeing DeNiro onscreen with the woman who played Vicki LaMotta, Cathy Moriarty. They still have great chemistry. It is fun to see the talented Anthony LaPaglia, who usually plays Italian-Americans in movies like “Frank Nitti” and “The Client,” using his original Australian accent. And be sure to stay for the outtakes at the end. I know they have become a cliché, but these are worth the wait.

Parents should know that the movie has very strong language (lots of f-words) and a lot of violence. It may be comic, but it is bloody and in some cases fatal. There are also sexual references and situations, including adultery, some graphic.

Families who see this movie should talk about what determines whether people can change. And they should discuss the way that both Vitti and Sobel are still so tied up in (and by) what their fathers thought of them. If you were going to write a third movie about these characters, what would you have them do?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy “Analyze This” and “Married to the Mob.”

Previous Posts

What Happened to All the Great Quotable Movie Lines?
Michael Cieply has a fascinating piece in the New York Times about the movie lines we love to quote and why there don't seem to be any new ones. Look through all of the top ten lists of the year, and see if you can think of one quotable line from any of them. That doesn't mean they aren't well wri

posted 3:58:57pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

George Clooney and the Cast of Downton Abbey
You don't have to be a fan of "Downton Abbey" (or "Mr. Selfridge") to love this hilarious spoof, with guest appearances by Jeremy Piven, George Clooney and the Absolutely Fabulous Joanna Lumley. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ryo7fqdmcGQ?rel=0" frameborder="0"] [

posted 1:43:50pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Ask Amy Says: A Book on Every Bed
I love to remind people about Amy Dickinson's wonderful "Book on Every Bed" proposal: Here’s how it happens: You take a book (it can be new or a favorite from your own childhood). You wrap it. On Christmas Eve (or whatever holiday you celebrate), you leave the book in a place where Santa is

posted 12:00:42pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Matthew Llewellyn, Composer for Wally Lamb's "Wishin' and Hopin'"
Wishin' and Hopin' is Lifetime movie airing December 21, 2014, based on the novel by Wally Lamb. It stars Molly Ringwald and Meat Loaf with narration by Chevy Chase. Composer Matthew Llewellyn was kind enough to answer my questions about creating a score for this nostalgic holiday story. How d

posted 9:40:56am Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Wild's Cheryl Strayed Has a New Advice Podcast
Before Wild, Cheryl Strayed was the pseudonymous "Dear Sugar" advice columnist for The Rumpus. Her columns were collected in Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. Writer Steve Almond (Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America) also wrote as Dear Su

posted 3:59:40pm Dec. 19, 2014 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.